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Stop Promising Short-Lived 'Rebates' And Scrap HST On Hydro

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The Ontario Liberals should never have added the provincial portion of the HST to hydro bills in 2010, and a temporary rebate to bring down hydro bills is not the answer for today, either.

Instead of continuing to manage our electric grid and economy based on the political fortunes of the corrupt Ontario Liberal Party, it is time for the government to get real about doing the right thing for a change.

When then-Minister of Energy and Infrastructure George Smitherman defended the Green Energy Act at the legislative committee reviewing the bill, on April 8, 2009, he said:

"We anticipate about one per cent per year of additional rate increase associated with the bill's [The Green Energy and Economy Act, 2009] implementation over the next 15 years."

He was completely and totally wrong.

The Ontario Liberals decided to make matters worse when they chose to add the provincial portion of the HST to hydro bills -- something the province did not feel it was appropriate to charge when we had PST. They defended this while exempting the provincial portion of HST from your morning Tim Hortons in an effort to quell unrest.

That decision took $1.6 billion dollars out of Ontarian's pockets each year.

In 2010, the Liberals decided to help buy the next two elections by offering a 10 per cent Ontario Clean Energy Benefit rebate for five years at a cost of another $1.1 billion dollars per year.

Two elections later and a majority in hand, Kathleen Wynne's Liberals let that rebate expire as planned.

Wynne is less popular than McGuinty was when he quit in disgrace during the notorious gas plant scandal. Yet she's chosen to try to change the channel by throwing all business before the Ontario Legislature out the door, and invited the Lieutenant Governor to deliver a Throne Speech that had about as much substance as you would expect from a plan hatched less than a week before being delivered.

Finally, the premier has realized that hydro rates are driving voters away in the stronghold ridings she needs to hang on to if she is to stay in power, and that it's time that something is done about it.

Instead of doing the right thing and doing what Dwight Duncan should have done in 2010 -- remove the provincial portion of the HST from hydro bills -- the government is offering another temporary rebate.

Ontarians have to stop letting their government play them like fools.

If Ontarians want the government to truly clean up their green energy follies, it is time for Ontario voters to become Energy Voters and demand the provincial portion of the HST be permanently removed from hydro bills in this province, once and for all.

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